“Over the last ten years there’s been a renaissance in the feeling for African textiles. The colours are vibrant and edgy, because we combine colours that most people wouldn’t put together. Aesthetically, they’re just wonderful. The world has become so much more diverse, and in turn, so have people’s style. People want to make room […]
Mr Rambabu wears a look of intense concentration as he mixes natural indigo dye in a deep stone well. “Traditional. Definitely traditional,” he says, chuckling. “Technology can be too consuming. With mobile phones you’re expected to drop everything to answer. Sometimes I find it a bit too much.”
Manoj has a playful, almost flirtatious demeanour, like the world is his oyster and he’s ready to take it all. “I’m from a village called Basari and I travel into Jaipur for work every day. I like it better here. It’s a city; the culture is better and the opportunities are endless.”
Satyanarayan’s work colleagues laugh and start to tease him. We ask him what’s going on and he smiles. “Throughout the day, my wife and I send photos of ourselves to each other.” You send each other selfies? “Yes.” He laughs. “People joke about it, but seeing each other makes us smile. I think it’s nice.”
Girdhari is a lovely, personable man, and a natural with the camera. “I’m a photographer”, realising why he’s so comfortable being photographed, we all start to laugh. “I’m a wedding photographer on the side. Weddings are filled with such a sense of promise. I love to capture that.”
An ancient art form, an old science, using natural indigo pigments to dye fabrics has been practised in many countries, for thousands of years. Out of all of them, India stands as the oldest centre for the craft, with knowledge of their expertise known to even the ancient Egyptians. So when it came to the […]
As we turn off the main road, the harsh hubbub of the traffic is replaced by the sing-song sound of hammer and chisel in a street lined with cosy little block-carving workshops. We make a beeline for the one run by Mullah-Ji, a fourth generation master block-carver known throughout Jaipur for his work. Surrounded by […]
Our textile designer inspects the vibrant and geometric pattern of the skirts that lie on the table beside him. “They’re vintage” – he tells us – “tribal skirts worn by the women in the mountains of Thailand.” As he speaks, he creates lines and circles, shading here and there. It’s hard to keep up with […]
“My wedding day,” Sorabh says without even pausing to think about it. “Have you ever been to an Indian wedding?” he asks us. Sadly, we shake our heads. “It’s so much fun. So much music and dancing, and the groom rides in on a horse!” A horse? “Yes. When I was on that horse, it […]
“Teasing him!” Hemlata bursts out, gesturing to her husband Harsh. Husband and wife are both block printers working together in a small workshop adjoining their home. “I tease him about losing his hair and getting old,” she says laughing, while her husband smiles and shakes his head.
Harsh Kumar is warm and humble, with an unmissable twinkle in his eye. “This is a form of Namaste,” he explains. “This particular position shows direction towards God. I’m asking for protection, to be watched over,” he smiles, somewhat shy. “So that I don’t make a mistake.”
Ratiram, tall and fair, may be in physical opposition to his fellow screen-printing partner, Sahadeo, but they’re equally matched in sense of humour. “We’re like brothers,” he tells us, and then frowns in mock seriousness. “I’m the boss though.”
Ranveer doesn’t answer straight away, compelled to finish the seam on the Jasper pouffe before we chat. “Sorry,” he says when he’s done, “the only annoying part is having to unpick the yarn if you make a mistake.” Waving his hand flippantly he adds, “But that never happens to me.”
It’s quiet in the screen-printing workshop. The only sound is the gentle purr of ceiling fans and the gentle patter of voices as Ratiram and Sahadeo screen print the Zebra Diamond pattern from our Jasper pouffe onto metre upon metre of plain white cotton dhurrie.
The rug workshop is a treasure trove of patterns and colours. Recently designed, woven textiles are piled high all around us. Our artisan rug designer kneels on something special – a traditional Indian bridal rug that’s around 50 years old. Studying the bold black and white pattern, he makes rough sketches in his notebook – […]